Townend to stick with Al Boum Photo at Punchestown

Winning Cheltenham Gold Cup partnership to be retained next week

Paul Townend onboard Al Boum Photo celebrates winning at Cheltenham.  Photograph: Dan Sheridan

Paul Townend onboard Al Boum Photo celebrates winning at Cheltenham. Photograph: Dan Sheridan

 

Willie Mullins expects Paul Townend to keep the ride on Cheltenham Gold Cup hero Al Boum Photo when he bids to follow up at Punchestown next week.

After saddling the runner-up on six occasions, Mullins finally claimed an elusive first victory in the blue riband at Prestbury Park last month as Al Boum Photo roared up the hill in front.

With stable jockey Ruby Walsh siding with Bellshill at Cheltenham, Townend — who will be crowned Irish champion jockey for a second time next week — was on board the winner, and Mullins feels it would be tough to break up the winning partnership in the Coral Punchestown Gold Cup next Wednesday.

Should Townend be aboard Al Boum Photo once more, Walsh could partner his stablemate Kemboy.

The Supreme Horse Racing Club-owned seven-year-old made it no further than the first fence in the Gold Cup, but has since impressed under Walsh in the Betway Bowl at Aintree.

Mullins said: “Al Boum Photo and Kemboy are on course. I’d imagine it would be hard to take Paul off Al Boum Photo now.”

Kemboy is the marginal favourite at 13-8 for the Punchestown Gold Cup, with Al Boum Photo a 7-4 shot.

Bellshill — who was disappointingly pulled up at Cheltenham — is 6-1 to successfully defend his crown, having won last year’s Punchestown Gold Cup under the trainer’s nephew, David Mullins.

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